• German Grand Prix - Qualifying

Hamilton 'underestimated' McLaren

ESPNF1 Staff
July 23, 2011 « Webber at his 'complete limit' to take pole | »
Lewis Hamilton: "I definitely underestimated how the car would be when we went to low fuel" © Getty Images
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Lewis Hamilton put his drastically improved qualifying performance at the German Grand Prix down to upgrades on his McLaren and the lifting of the ban on off-throttle exhuast blown diffusers.

Hamilton was two seconds off the pace after a difficult qualifying session at Silverstone two weeks ago but managed to get within 0.055s of pole position at the Nurburgring on Saturday. He said the team had been working hard to improve the car's performance but his second place grid position was still a surprise.

"We've had some new upgrades this weekend," he said. "Throughout the weekend, throughout the week we've had a constant push to bring updates and to improve some of our engine modes which have obviously helped massively.

"I definitely underestimated how the car would be when we went to low fuel but it felt fantastic and the lap was just beautifully flowing. It was the most comforting lap I've ever had, it felt just incredible. We're not far from Red Bull so it's a good lap for us."

He said that the FIA's decision to lift the ban on off-throttle diffusers may not have influenced his rivals, but made a huge difference for McLaren.

"At Silverstone we really struggled with rule changes, cornering stability and that sort of thing, so we were on the back foot and there was nothing we could do," he added. "This weekend, [the lifting of the ban] doesn't look like it has had a massive effect on the Ferrari and Red Bulls, but it has enabled us to get back in the fight."